Kay Trelle, Missile Man: Part II

Above: A diagram drawn by Kay showing “revised castering” on a bicycle. (From SPRA 438.02)

This post is continued from Kay Trelle, Missile Man: Part I, featured here on January 11, 2023.

The next project was the Boeing 747 Drone Carrier in 1969. This was “a concept for launching and retrieving un-manned aircraft, using as a carrier a modified 747 commercial airplane.” The idea was that if there was another war, commercial jets such as the Boeing 747 could be quickly outfitted as drone carriers. Kay’s responsibility was “to create and analyse various military derivatives for the 747 airplane.”

From 1971-1973, Kay spent much of his time inventing, designing, and building an expandable recreational vehicle in the basement of their Seattle home. The vehicle was completed and licensed in the state of Washington, Kay and Mae began the patenting process and explored potential markets for its production. The costs of engineering and patenting each individual part were so expensive the project was not feasible. The expandable camper sat for years in the garage on their Lake Saskatoon property.

In 1972 the Trelles returned to Canada, and in 1973 Kay assumed a new position with Lockheed, this time with their Petroleum Services (LPS) in New Westminster, British Columbia, which offered a comprehensive subsea well completion, production, and service system to the offshore oil industry. His primary function was to establish project definitions and program planning, review engineering and design in general for conformance to specifications, and good engineering/design practices.

Kay concluded his career as a Professional Engineer at TRIUMF, the tri university meson facility which is Canada’s national laboratory for nuclear and particle physics research. It is located on the campus of the University of British Columbia. TRIUMF is owned and operated by a consortium of universities to provide a world class facility for research in the areas of particle and nuclear physics, molecular and materials science, and nuclear medicine. TRIUMF was interested in building the KAON Factory, a nuclear accelerator such as they had in Caen, France, and in 1985, the Trelles traveled to see work being done on the super collider between Switzerland and France. They went on to Germany, where a linear accelerator was assisting with treating cancer of the kidney, a medical benefit of that research. They were treating brain tumors at the Caen factory. There was a lot of free exchange with no political interference, but the Canadian ambitions did not come to fruition because the accelerator was so expensive. It was, however, a rewarding end to Kay’s career.

During his lifetime, Mr. Trelle was a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers of British Columbia; a member (Honor Pledge 1950) of Alpha Eta Rho, International Aviation – Engineering; a member of the Engineers and Architects Association, Southern California; a member of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, International; and a general building contractor in the State of California. Outside of his work, his hobbies included Egypt and its archaeology, geology, and designing and building models such as a geodesic dome. He also spent many years trying to solve the problems for creating the Magnet Motor which, as a source of perpetual and clean energy, he described as “every engineer’s dream.”

In 1987, Kay suffered his first stroke, and after his rehabilitation the Trelles retired to the Saskatoon Lake area near Wembley, Alberta. They purchased a property directly adjacent to the original Trelle homestead, and built their home next to the wildlife sanctuary on the shores of Saskatoon Lake. In June 2011, Kay and Mae donated their personal records to the South Peace Regional Archives; they are preserved in Fonds 438: R. Kay Trelle fonds.  Kay died four months later on October 19, 2011.

This article was originally featured in the September 2020 issue of Telling Our Stories.